Curious kids may enjoy browsing through this cornucopia of island facts.

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AMAZING ISLANDS

100+ PLACES THAT WILL BOGGLE YOUR MIND

A compendium of oddly interesting facts about islands, large and small, and their human and animal inhabitants.

Weiss and Hyndman open by defining island and other names associated with this geographical term, like “islet, skerry, or cay—these are names for very small islands” and “ait—a small island, often found in a river or lake.” Subsequent double-page spreads introduce individual islands or island groups like the Galápagos, Cuba, the British Isles, and Sri Lanka. In no particular arrangement, topical spreads are intermixed. Lists of large and small islands, “[y]oungest natural islands,” and a world map showing the locations of the islands mentioned will satisfy reference buffs. The illustrations feature a heavy emphasis on green and blue tones, sometimes muted, and occasionally obscuring the small print of the text, making it difficult to read some descriptions. The layouts are varied and lively, with realistic details of animals and plants, and occasional foldouts add both more space for information and a bit of excitement. The text and the illustrations usually complement each other well, but, unfortunately, on the spread on river islands, the text mentions the Empire State Building (nowhere to be found in the picture) but not the Freedom Tower (which dominates the skyline). People pictured are diverse, but the depictions of “island peoples” tend toward the exoticized.

Curious kids may enjoy browsing through this cornucopia of island facts. (glossary, pronunciation guide, index, sources) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-912920-16-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

GET THE SCOOP ON ANIMAL SNOT, SPIT & SLIME!

FROM SNAKE VENOM TO FISH SLIME, 251 COOL FACTS ABOUT MUCUS, SALIVA & MORE

Cusick floats a slick, select gallery of nature’s spitters, nose-pickers, oozers, and slimers—most but not all nonhuman—atop nourishing globs of scientific information.

Title notwithstanding, the book is limited just to mucus and saliva. Following introductory looks at the major components of each, Cusick describes their often similar uses in nature—in swallowing or expelling foreign matter, fighting disease, predation and defense, camouflage, travel, communication (“Aren’t you glad humans use words to communicate?”), home construction, nutrition, and more. All of this is presented in easily digestible observations placed among, and often referring to, color photos of slime-covered goby fish, a giraffe with its tongue up its nose, various drooling animals, including a white infant, and like photogenic subjects. Two simple experiments cater to hands-on types, but any readers who take delight in sentences like “Some fungus beetles eat snail slime mucus” come away both stimulated and informed.

What better way to make natural history slide down easily? (index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63322-115-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t...

HURRICANE HARVEY

DISASTER IN TEXAS AND BEYOND

The devastation of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey is explained, from the storm’s origin to its ongoing aftermath, in this photo-heavy book.

In retelling the story of how a storm got so big it caused 82 deaths and billions of dollars in damage along the Texas coast, Minneapolis-based author Felix details the science of hurricanes for those unfamiliar and unpacks why this and a series of other hurricanes made for one of the most damaging weather years on record. Although it’s packed with info-boxes, a glossary, tips for safety during a hurricane and helping survivors afterward, a snapshot of five other historic hurricanes, and well-curated photos, it misses an opportunity to convey some of the emotion and pain victims endured and continue to feel. Instead, much of the text feels like a summation of news reports, an efficient attempt to answer the whys of Hurricane Harvey, with only a few direct quotations. Readers learn about Virgil Smith, a Dickinson, Texas, teen who rescued others from floodwaters with an air mattress, but the information is secondhand. The book does answer, clearly and concisely, questions a kid might have about a hurricane, such as what happens to animals at the zoo in such an emergency and how a tropical storm forms in the first place. A portion of the book’s proceeds are to be donated to the Texas Library Association’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The photos effectively convey the scope of Harvey’s impact, but while journalistically sound, this informative book doesn’t capture the fear and shock those who lived through the hurricane must have felt. (Nonfiction. 9-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2888-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

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